Theme

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Theme:

Theme What Is Theme? Universal Themes Finding the Theme Making a Judgment Practice Feature Menu

What Is Theme?:

What makes a story linger in our hearts and minds long after we’ve read it? Often it is the idea on which the story is built—its theme. What Is Theme?

What Is Theme?:

Theme —the central idea, or insight, about life or human behavior that a story reveals Genres Living a simple life leads to greater personal freedom. The deepest loneliness is sometimes felt when we are among friends. What Is Theme?

What Is Theme?:

In most stories, the theme is not stated directly. Instead, it is revealed to us through the characters’ experiences. What might be the theme of these photos? [End of Section] What Is Theme?

Universal Themes:

A theme is a generalization about life or human nature. Certain types of experiences are common to all people everywhere. Different writers from different cultures often express similar themes. Universal Themes

Universal Themes:

shine a light on our common experiences Universal themes come up again and again in literature can help guide us through our lives deal with basic human concerns—good and evil, life and death, love and loss Universal Themes

Universal Themes:

Match these familiar stories to the appropriate universal theme. It pays to work hard and plan ahead. Appearances can be deceiving. Universal Themes Quick Check Stories The Little Red Hen Beauty and the Beast The Three Little Pigs The Ugly Duckling The Frog Prince A B [End of Section]

Universal Themes:

Universal Themes Match these familiar stories to the appropriate universal theme. It pays to work hard and plan ahead. Appearances can be deceiving. Quick Check Stories The Little Red Hen Beauty and the Beast The Three Little Pigs The Ugly Duckling The Frog Prince A B A A B B B

Finding the Theme:

Keep the following guidelines in mind when you want to find and state the theme of a work. The theme is not the same thing as the subject. The subject is simply the topic. It can be stated in a single word, such as loyalty. The theme makes some revelation about the subject and should be expressed in a sentence: “Loyalty to a leader is not always noble.” Finding the Theme

Finding the Theme:

Writers often express theme through what their characters learn. Does the main character change? Does a character realize something he or she did not know before? Finding the Theme

Finding the Theme:

Conflict helps reveal theme. What is the conflict, or struggle between opposing forces, that the main character faces? How is the conflict resolved? Two friends find a wallet. One friend wants to return it to the owner; the other wants to keep it. People are often rewarded for making the right moral decision. They return the wallet and share a small reward. Conflict Resolution Theme Finding the Theme

Finding the Theme:

Sometimes the title gives clues. Does the title have a special meaning? Does it point to the theme? The theme applies to the entire work. Test your statement of the theme. Does it apply to the whole work, not just to parts of it? Finding the Theme

Finding the Theme:

There is no single way to state the theme. People may express the same theme in different words. There may be different opinions about what the main theme is. The most meaningful literary works often have more than one theme. Finding the Theme

Finding the Theme:

What is the conflict and how is it resolved? Finding the Theme Quick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, Ulrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One night they encounter each other on the disputed land. Each thinks of killing the other. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins them both under its weight. At first the men threaten each other. After a while, however, they notice each other’s suffering, make a pact of friendship, and look forward to being rescued and living in peace. Then they are attacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki What do the characters learn?

Finding the Theme:

Two men are fighting over a piece of land. They put the feud behind them when they are both facing possible death. What is the conflict and how is it resolved? Finding the Theme Quick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, Ulrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One night they encounter each other on the disputed land. Each thinks of killing the other. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins them both under its weight. At first the men threaten each other. After a while, however, they notice each other’s suffering, make a pact of friendship, and look forward to being rescued and living in peace. Then they are attacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki

Finding the Theme:

Survival is more important than land ownership. Letting go of hatred feels good. What do the characters learn? Finding the Theme Quick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, Ulrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One night they encounter each other on the disputed land. Each thinks of killing the other. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins them both under its weight. At first the men threaten each other. After a while, however, they notice each other’s suffering, make a pact of friendship, and look forward to being rescued and living in peace. Then they are attacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki

Finding the Theme:

What is the theme? (State it in a sentence.) Finding the Theme Quick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, Ulrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One night they encounter each other on the disputed land. Each thinks of killing the other. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins them both under its weight. At first the men threaten each other. After a while, however, they notice each other’s suffering, make a pact of friendship, and look forward to being rescued and living in peace. Then they are attacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki [End of Section]

Finding the Theme:

If you wait until tragedy strikes to make peace with your enemies, you may not be able to enjoy the rewards of forgiveness. Finding the Theme Quick Check Because of a feud over a piece of land, Ulrich and Georg are bitter enemies. One night they encounter each other on the disputed land. Each thinks of killing the other. Suddenly a huge tree falls and pins them both under its weight. At first the men threaten each other. After a while, however, they notice each other’s suffering, make a pact of friendship, and look forward to being rescued and living in peace. Then they are attacked by wolves. synopsis of “The Interlopers” by Saki What is the theme? (State it in a sentence.)

Making a Judgment:

Don’t accept a story’s theme as valid just because the story is in print. Instead, ask yourself: Is this story’s view of life too simplistic? Too idealistic? Too cynical? Formula Fiction Is the writer trying to push an idea that does not reflect real life? Making a Judgment

Making a Judgment:

Classify each theme as either valid or not valid . Explain your choices. Making a Judgment Quick Check True love solves all of life’s problems. People who have a lot of money or power are sometimes greedy for more. People who do good deeds will be happy and will not suffer. [End of Section]

Making a Judgment:

Making a Judgment Classify each theme as either valid or not valid . Explain your choices. Quick Check True love solves all of life’s problems. not valid (too idealistic) People who have a lot of money or power are sometimes greedy for more. People who do good deeds will be happy and will not suffer. valid (true to life) not valid (too idealistic)

Practice:

Think of a story you’ve read that had an impact on you. Then, use a map like the one here to help you figure out the story’s theme. Compare your map with the ones your classmates made. Did you and any of your classmates map stories with similar themes? Title: Topic: How the main character changes: How the conflict is resolved: What the title suggests: Theme: Practice [End of Section]

The End:

The End

What Is Theme?:

Genres Themes are also important to other genres, or forms of literature, such as novels, plays, poems, and even nonfiction works. What Is Theme?

Making a Judgment:

Be on the lookout for formula fiction. Learn to make your own critical judgments about the fiction you read. satisfies a general preference for upbeat stories over true-to-life ones Formula fiction is written to a plan Making a Judgment

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